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*This recipe is gluten-free according to industry standards

Try this impressive Christmas pavlova, then check out our profiteroles, sherry trifle, yule log and more Christmas dessert ideas.

Looking for more pavlova recipes? Try our classic pavlova, Baileys chocolate pavlova, mini pavlovas and plenty more.

This black forest meringue tower recipe is created by original GBBO winner and expert baker Edd Kimber. Edd Kimber says: “Once assembled the tower is best served on the day but the cherries and meringue layers can be prepared a few days ahead. Store the meringues in airtight containers."

Ingredients

  • peeled to decorate dark chocolate bar, (optional)

MERINGUE

  • 8 large egg whites
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder, plus extra to dust (see notes below)

CHERRY FILLING

  • 500g fresh or frozen dark cherries, pitted
  • 100g caster sugar
  • ½ orange, juiced
  • 75ml kirsch

GANACHE

  • 150g dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate, (see notes below)
  • 200ml double cream

FILLING

  • 400ml double cream
  • 200g mascarpone

Method

  • STEP 1

    Line two large baking trays with baking paper. On the back of one of the sheets of paper draw a 23cm circle and a 10cm circle. On the second sheet draw a 18cm circle and a 15cm circle. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

  • STEP 2

    To make the meringue, put the egg whites into a large bowl with a pinch of salt and, using an electric mixer, whisk until foamy. Add the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, as you continue to whisk until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Add 1/3 of the cocoa powder and fold gently, then repeat twice more with the remaining cocoa powder, so that the cocoa stays rippled but not fully incorporated into the mixture.

  • STEP 3

    Divide the mixture between the 4 circle templates, spreading so that they are roughly the same height as each other. Put the trays into the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until crisp and feeling firm to the touch but still a pale white. Turn the oven off, leaving the meringues to cool for at least 2 hours in the oven.

  • STEP 4

    Heat the cherries, sugar and orange juice in a small pan until the cherries are just starting to lose their shape and are releasing a lot of juice. Use a slotted spoon to move the fruits into a large bowl, leaving the juices in the pan. Simmer until reduced, thick and syrupy, then remove from the heat and add in the kirsch. Pour over the fruit, cover and chill until needed.

  • STEP 5

    For the ganache, put the chocolate into a large bowl. Put the cream into a pan and bring to a simmer, then pour it over the chocolate and allow to sit for a couple of minutes before stirring to combine. Cover and allow to cool to room temperature, so that it has a spreadable consistency.

  • STEP 6

    When ready to assemble, make the filling by whisking together the cream and mascarpone until just holding soft peaks. Mascarpone can separate easily if over-whisked, so err on the side of caution.

  • STEP 7

    To assemble, spread 1/2 the ganache on the largest meringue and cover with 1/2 the cream, spreading towards the edges of the meringue. Top with a few tbsp of the cherries and a little of the syrup. Repeat with the other 3 meringue layers. Dust with a little extra cocoa powder and finish with a few chocolate curls, made by running a peeler down the side of a chocolate bar, if you like.

We're big fans of baking with Guittard - we used Guittard Aroma Extra Semisweet 55% Chocolate Chips and Cocoa Rouge Cocoa Powder for the best flavour, available at Lakeland and ocado.com. Don't worry if your meringues crack a little - you can cover any imperfections with cream and ganache.

Check out more of our best Christmas dessert recipes here...

Profiterole Tower with Chocolate and Hazelnuts

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